Going by cold, hard statistics alone, Bradley Cooper and Reese Witherspoon should be working on their winners’ speeches ahead of Sunday’s Oscars.
Sure, the Academy makes the decisions, but if you look back over the previous winners there are patterns to be spotted – especially when it comes to the length of the winning film and the ages of the actors up for the top gongs.
The average best picture is 140 minutes long. At 132 minutes, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is the closest of the bunch. In contrast, if Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel takes the gong, its 100-minute running time will see it join Driving Miss Daisy and The Artist as the second shortest film to do so, behind Annie Hall (93 minutes). However, Boyhood’s success at the recent Baftas may put a dampener on this prediction.
When it comes to best actor statistics, the average age of a winner is 45. Again, that’s a good sign for American Sniper, with Bradley Cooper, 40, the closest to the optimum age. Michael Keaton, hotly tipped for his part in Birdman, is furthest away at 62 years of age.
With a Golden Globe and Bafta already under his belt, however, there’s plenty of attention on 33-year-old Eddie Redmayne – up for his turn in Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. If he were to be victorious, Redmayne would be the fourth youngest actor in the past 50 years to take the award. Richard Dreyfuss holds the title of youngest ever winner, adding an Oscar statue to his trophy cabinet at just 31 years for his role in 1977’s The Goodbye Girl.
As for the best actress category, history suggests 38 is the optimum age to win, which is good news for Wild actress Reese Witherspoon who will attend the ceremony aged exactly 38. Two Days, One Night star Marion Cotillard is biting at her heels aged 39 while British hopeful Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) is a fresh-faced 36 and probably wishing she was two years older.
Julianne Moore’s stunning turn in Still Alice, which won her the best actress Bafta, could disrupt the pattern (she’s 54). If Pike was to take the award or a 31-year-old Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything), they’d be the tenth Brit overall and the first since Kate Winslet won for The Reader in 2008.
Will the trends hold true, or will the record books be thrown out of the window?
The Oscars are being shown from 1:30am on Monday on Sky Movies Oscars